Wildcats Grab Victory Over Vandals

Kaitlynn Pelger

Sept. 2, 2011

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MANHATTAN, Kan. – The Kansas State Wildcats battled with the Idaho Vandals in three tightly contested sets on Friday night but were able to get the edge thanks to another team effort and post their second win of the day at the Varney’s Invitational. K-State bested Idaho 25-23, 25-19, 25-22 and will face BYU for the tournament crown on Saturday.

K-State (4-2) never trailed in the match, but Idaho (1-4) was able to keep it close throughout. The Wildcats relied on sophomores Kaitlynn Pelger and Lilla Porubek heavily again, but it was junior Kathleen Ludwig and sophomore Courtney Traxson that came up big for the team as well. Junior setter Caitlyn Donahue directed the offense to another strong showing and managed to make herself a threat offensively again in the win.

“I felt we had good balance again. A lot of our hitters were effective. Anytime you can get all your hitters at or around hitting .250 is great, and you don’t have to rely on just one or two,” Head Coach Suzie Fritz said. “I think we were better because of that and also our passers did a nice job to keep us in system.”

Pelger and Porubek each tallied 12 kills in the win with hitting percentages of .292 and .222, respectively. Ludwig added seven kills while hitting .278, and Traxson posted six kills with a .286 percentage. Donahue had another impressive day with 36 assists and six digs. She also added three kills on five swings to keep the Vandal defense in check. Kuulei Kabalis sured up the K-State defense with eight digs.

Heading into the third set the Wildcats trailed the Vandals in terms of team hitting percentage by a large margin, but K-State came out firing for a percentage of .410 to turn the tables and close the match. Fritz said part of the reason her team was successful was not only the strong attacking but her team’s ability to serve well.

“I thought we did a nice job of continuing with our service pressure. That was good in terms of scoring because the fastest way to score is in putting pressure on the other team with your serve,” Fritz said.

The Wildcats will take on BYU at 1 p.m. at Ahearn Field House to see which team will be the 2011 Varney’s Invitational champion as the Cougars won both their matches on Friday as well. Idaho will face Georgia Southern at 10 a.m. K-State was able to defeat BYU two years ago at the Cougars’ home tournament to win that crown as well, but Fritz said her team will have to be ready to face a strong opponent in BYU if the Wildcats want to win again.

“I feel good that we were able to get two wins today. It’s hard to play two in one day. We were well prepared and ready to play,” Fritz said. “But BYU is a good team and we will need to play well tomorrow.”

Fans can get into the game for just $3 if they show their ticket to the K-State football game for Saturday as part of the Wildcat Weekend promotion. Fans can listen online at kstatesports.com for free or watch at K-StateHD.TV as part of the recently launch online network for a monthly or annual fee.